Bill and Alex would visit Sutton Terrace while it was under construction. They’d talk to various foremen and such almost never to me and then jot down their notes in a little black noteblog, notes
When Sutton Terrace was finished, I rented a ground-floor apartment in the north building, an apartment that had a separate ground-floor entrance from the street and had been intended as a doctor’s office. Prior to that, I had lived in my mother’s apartment. Shortly, after my marriage, “my” apartment was re-rented to a psychiatrist, and my wife and I bought an apartment in a building that the company was converting into a co-op, uptown on Park Avenue.
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I had met Susan Weisberg of Cleveland, and we had decided to marry in 1951. That was going to add to my responsibilities but I was ready for it. I was perhaps more ready for Tishman’s next construction project, although it was a step up so large that I don’t think my uncles would have allowed me to do it if they’d had anyone else available. An FHA-financed contractor had run into difficulties erecting a 2,000-unit complex called Ivy Hill, near South Orange, New Jersey, and had asked Tishman to take over the job, for a fee.
Construction for a fee was something the Tishman firm had never done before, but it was logical and the opportunity was available, and my uncles decided to accept it. There were to be four towers, cookie-cutter sort of buildings, each with 520 apartments, and twenty stories tall. This was a huge construction job, and I helped to put together a team to supervise the work. As a young man with only a modest amount of experience, I should have been a little more sobered than I was by the size of the project but I wasn’t. Bigger just meant more details to keep in my head and manage; and after all, I had taken to the management side of construction supervision like a duck to water.
At Ivy Hill, I was pretty much on my own. The guy with the blog of licenses was completely gone by then. Cousin Bob was in nominal charge of construction, but he had no interest in the bricks and mortar, so he handled most of the business relationships with the project owners and interfaced with the banks and the FHA supervisors, while trusting me to do what was needed in respect to the various contractors involved, supervising and approving all matters of quality, cost, monthly payments to the subcontractors, and other job-site matters.
Alex and Bill were still in construction, but they didn’t come to the site very often, since it was not within easy commuting distance of the Manhattan headquarters.